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SocioPerception vol. 23

The Wrocław Branch of the Polish Sociological Association, in the Institute of Sociology of the University of Wrocław, a University of Lower Silesia, in cooperation with the Wrocław Culture Zone and Wrocław Contemporary Museum, cordially invites everyone to participate in Socioperception vol. 23 | Reluctance towards school, what is it exactly? About the criticism of the school system and the search for alternatives in education.

The meeting will be held on 26th of January (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. live at the RECEPTION Office at ul. Ruska 46 in Wrocław (and in the form of a broadcast on the PTS Facebook channel).

Guest speakers:

dr Katarzyna Gawlicz, University of Lower Silesia (Wrocław), author of the book Democratic Schools in Poland. Practicing alternative education (2020) and publications on, among others, children’s rights in education, discrimination in school or the use of action research in teacher’s education;

dr Dominika Hofman-Kozłowska, Liceum Sowizdrzała-Sowizdrzała Secondary School (Katowice), author of a doctoral dissertation devoted to the views of the founder of the Summerhill school – Alexander S. Neill, dealing with democratic and integral education, participant in activities in the field of educational innovation, creator of the emerging public Sowizdrzała Secondary School;

dr Marta Wiatr, the Maria Grzegorzewska Special Pedagogy Academy (Warsaw), author of, among others, research on parental educational initiatives and parental involvement in children’s education, the results of which have been published in recent years in “Studia Edukacyjne”, “Pedagogika Społecznej” and “International Journal about Parents in Education”.

Moderator: dr Marcin Starnawski, University of Lower Silesia (Wrocław)

Criticism of school and traditional education is not a new phenomenon and goes back over a century to the libertarian and egalitarian postulates of “new education”. However, today in Poland, despite successive educational reforms, the criticism seems to go in the direction where universal education appears less as an achievement of social progress of the 20th century, and more as a barrier to the development of new generations. Reluctance is expressed by parents whose aspirations in terms of educating their own children exceed the possibilities of the institutions. Students’ negative experiences are known along with their sense of being lost and not influencing their own learning process. Teachers also feel the need for change, as demonstrated by the 2019 strike. Although public opinion is not free from misunderstandings and stereotypes, e.g., teaching work, it also includes accurate diagnoses of pedagogical and organizational shortcomings of the contemporary school.

For many years, educational alternatives undertaken in Poland are largely implemented in non-public institutions. In the last decade, grassroots learning communities have emerged, founded and supported by parents, sometimes describing themselves as democratic schools. These initiatives, often without the formal status of a school, arise out of criticism of the school system and hope to create educational spaces better than a traditional school, caring for the individual and social development of a child, functioning on the principles of freedom, equality and participation.

In this discussion, we will combine criticism with questions about the possibilities of creating a school that is more friendly to children and youth and better responding to the challenges of our times. What is current education system being criticized for and who is establishing a “different school” and why? What are these initiatives, their achievements, and the challenges they face? Finally, can they help guide the changes in education that we talk about so often today? The discussion will be inspired by the book “Szkoły Demokratyczne w Polsce” the author of which encourages people to think about new educational alternatives as a “prefiguration of a radical, democratic primary school”.

socjopercepcja 23


Translated by Rafał Karwacki (student of English Studies at the University of Wrocław) as part of the translation practice.

Published by: Maria Kozan

7 Jan 2022

last modification: 7 Jan 2022